Smoky pork shoulder tacos

Smoky pork shoulder tacos

Tenderised with orange and pineapple juice, and flavoured with smoky chipotle and aromatics, this pork shoulder will shred apart. Pile it onto tacos alongside pickled onions, pico de gallo and hot sauce.

Smoky pork shoulder tacos

This type of low-and-slow barbecuing is taken very seriously in the US, and can become a deep rabbit hole of science and technique. We’ve kept the recipe simple, but it’s worth exploring further online if you like the results.

Discover more brilliant barbecue recipes.

  • Serves icon Serves 6-8
  • Time icon Hands-on time 30 min, plus overnight marinating. Barbecue time 4-5 hours

Tenderised with orange and pineapple juice, and flavoured with smoky chipotle and aromatics, this pork shoulder will shred apart. Pile it onto tacos alongside pickled onions, pico de gallo and hot sauce.

This type of low-and-slow barbecuing is taken very seriously in the US, and can become a deep rabbit hole of science and technique. We’ve kept the recipe simple, but it’s worth exploring further online if you like the results.

Discover more brilliant barbecue recipes.

Nutrition: Per serving (for 8)

Calories
689kcals
Fat
41g (13g saturated)
Protein
48g
Carbohydrates
30g (13g sugars)
Fibre
1.2g
Salt
2.7g

Ingredients

  • 2kg outdoor-reared pork shoulder joint
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • Juice 5 limes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Bunch coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chilli, finely chopped (optional)
  • 12-16 warmed corn tortillas to serve (check gluten-free if necessary)
  • Hot sauce to serve

For the marinade 

  • 2 chipotles (whole, smoke-dried jalapeño chillies, from Sainsbury’s and online)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp sea salt flakes
  • Juice 1 orange
  • 100ml pineapple juice (fresh if possible – see Know-how)

Specialist kit

  • Lidded barbecue
  • Smoking chips (optional)
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Method

  1. Begin by making the marinade. Put a large frying pan over a medium heat, then add the dried chillies and garlic cloves. Toast for 3 minutes, turning occasionally, until the dried chillies have puffed up slightly and the garlic has started to blacken in a few places. Add the cumin seeds and toast for 1 more minute. Remove and discard the stalks from the chillies. Put the chillies in a food processor with the toasted garlic, cumin and the rest of the marinade ingredients. Whizz until smooth.
  2. Pat the pork dry, then use a very sharp knife to cut deep slashes all over the skin and flesh. Sit the pork in a dish, then pour the marinade over and rub it in well. Cover and put in the fridge overnight.
  3. The next day, bring the pork out of the fridge to come to room temperature. Light a lidded barbecue for indirect cooking (with the coals to one side and the food not directly over them) at about 160°C. (If the weather’s not playing ball, heat the oven to 160°C fan/gas 4.) Lift the pork out of the marinade, wiping off most of what clings to it, then put it in the barbecue or oven, skin-side up. Add some smoking chips to the barbecue if you have them, then close the lid and cook for 4-5 hours. (You might need to top up the coals.) Every hour or so, brush the pork with the leftover marinade.
  4. Meanwhile, cover the sliced red onion in the lime juice, add a pinch of salt and set aside to pickle. Make a pico de gallo: mix the chopped onion, tomatoes, coriander and jalapeño (if using), then stir in a pinch of salt and a splash of the lime juice from the pickled red onion.
  5. When the pork is ready, it will have a black ‘bark’ around the outside but be meltingly soft inside. Lift onto a board, remove the skin, then slice or shred into bite-size pieces (discard any large pieces of fat or gristle). Bring the meat to the table with the pink pickled onions, pico de gallo, tacos and hot sauce, then let everyone help themselves.

Nutrition

Calories
689kcals
Fat
41g (13g saturated)
Protein
48g
Carbohydrates
30g (13g sugars)
Fibre
1.2g
Salt
2.7g

delicious. tips

  1. Pork shoulder is a forgiving cut of meat, especially when slow-cooked like this. You can easily increase the size of the joint for a larger crowd, and don’t worry too much about the timings – it will happily tick over for another hour or two on the barbecue if you’re not ready to serve. Just wrap it in foil to stop it drying out completely.

  2. Fresh pineapple juice contains the enzyme bromelain, which can break down proteins such as collagen, tenderising the meat. Processed (pasteurised) juice has been heat treated so the enzyme will no longer be active but it will still add a zingy flavour.

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